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Friday, 31 August, 2001, 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK
'Too many people' on Aaliyah plane
Aaliyah fans
Fans have been signing books of condolence
The plane that crashed killing singer Aaliyah and eight others on Saturday was carrying too many passengers, according to the manufacturers.

The Cessna 402B is only licensed to carry between six and eight people including the pilot, said a spokeswoman for the Cessna Aircraft Company.

The news comes after revelations that the plane was heavily overloaded with luggage, while the pilot was not licensed to fly it and had been in court on drugs offences.
Aaliyah's body being airlifted
Aaliyah's body was airlifted from Nassau on Tuesday

A private funeral for the 22-year-old R&B star and a day-long memorial event are being held in New York on Friday.

The funeral is expected to be attended by 1,200 people by invitation only.

Following the mass, 22 trained doves will be released to symbolise each year of Aaliyah's life.

Aaliyah's music and videos will also play for 10 hours on East 42nd Street, as a public tribute.

As the investigation into the tragedy continues, Bahamian aviation officials have released an estimate of the weight of the plane, which an independent expert has called "overloaded".

Crashed Cessna
The Cessna seconds after take-off
The Civil Aviation Department has put the weight at take-off at 5,495lbs, excluding the nine passengers.

John Frank, an independent expert from the Cessna Pilots Association, said the maximum weight for the model was 6,300lbs, including people.

He added that the plane, seats, fuel and luggage weight combined would leave around 800lbs for the weight of the passengers.

"No question about it, they were overloaded," he said.

Cocaine

It has also emerged that pilot Luis Antonio Morales Blanes, 30, pleaded "no contest" to cocaine possession and other crimes just 12 days before the crash.

Aaliyah
Aaliyah's album sales have jumped
He had also been charged with possession of cocaine, dealing in stolen property, theft and driving with a suspended licence, said authorities in Florida.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Morales had not been authorised to fly the Cessna aircraft for its owners, Blackhawk International Airways.

Aaliyah's latest album has leapt eight places to number 19 in the US album charts since her death, according to SoundScan data released on Wednesday.

Sales have jumped by 41%, says the company - and sales are expected to show a further rise in this week's figures.

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